Quotations > J. De Finod, comp. > French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness
J. De Finod, comp.  A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness.  1886.
Nos. 1–399

TO select well among old things is almost equal to inventing new ones.
  The flavor of detached thoughts depends upon the conciseness of their expression: for thoughts are grains of sugar, or of salt, that must be melted in a drop of water.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  When we say there is nothing new under the sun, we do not count forgotten things.
E. Thierry.    
  A burlesque word is often a mighty sermon.
  He who hears but one bell, hears but one sound.
  What seems only ludicrous is sometimes very serious.
  Better a man with paradoxes than a man with prejudices.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  We must laugh before we are happy, lest we should die without having laughed.
La Bruyère.    
  The history of love would be the history of humanity: it would be a beautiful book to write.
Ch. Nodier.    
  Strong thoughts are iron nails driven in the mind, that nothing can draw out.
  In this world, one must put cloaks on all truths, even the nicest.
  Fear of hypocrites and fools is the great plague of thinking and writing.
J. Janin.    
  Women prefer us to say a little evil of them, rather than say nothing of them at all.
A. Ricard.    
  All truths are not to be uttered; still it is always good to hear them.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  Wisdom is to the soul what health is to the body.
De Saint-Réal.    
  Thought is the first faculty of man: to express it is one of his first desires; to spread it, his dearest privilege.
  One of the principal occupations of men is to divine women.
  Love is composed of so many sensations, that something new of it can always be said.
  A truth that one does not understand becomes an error.
  Can one better expiate his sins than by enlisting his experience in the service of morals.
De Bernard.    
  A delicate thought is a flower of the mind.
  Men may say of marriage and women what they please: they will renounce neither the one nor the other.  22
  The history of the thoughts of men, curious on account of their infinite variety, is also sometimes instructive.
  Men say of women what pleases them; women do with men what pleases them.
De Ségur.    
  Verity is nudity.
A. de Musset.    
  A jest that makes a virtuous woman only smile, often frightens away a prude; but, when real danger forces the former to flee, the latter does not hesitate to advance.
  To laugh is the characteristic of man.
  Although it is dangerous to have too much knowledge of certain subjects, it is still more dangerous to be totally ignorant of them.
  There will always remain something to be said of woman, as long as there is one on the earth.
  When one writes of woman, he must reserve the right to laugh at his ideas of the day before.
A. Ricard.    
  O Truth! pure and sacred virgin, when wilt thou be worthily revered? O Goddess who instructs us, why didst thou put thy palace in a well? When will our learned writers, alike free from bitterness and from flattery, faithfully teach us life?
  Should we condemn ourselves to ignorance to preserve hope?
E. Souvestre.    
  Ignorance is the mother of all evils.
  All my misfortunes come of having thought too well of my fellows.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  We laugh but little in our days, but are we less frivolous?
  Common sense is not a common thing.
  Our century is a brutal thinker.
  The most completely lost of all days is the one on which we have not laughed.
  Melancholy is the convalescence of sorrow.
Mme. Dufresnoy.    
  Of all heavy bodies, the heaviest is the woman we have ceased to love.
  Pleasures are like liqueurs: they must be drunk but in small glasses.
  Of what is man certain? What lasts? What passes? What is chimerical? What is real?… Every body drags its shadow, and every mind its doubt.
Victor Hugo.    
  Discretion is more necessary to women than eloquence, because they have less trouble to speak well than to speak little.
Father Du Bosc.    
  Twenty years in the life of a man is sometimes a severe lesson.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Envy lurks at the bottom of the human heart like a viper in its hole.
  Marriage is a lottery in which men stake their liberty, and women their happiness.
Mme. de Rieux.    
  Young saint, old devil; young devil, old saint.
  The heart has no wrinkles.
Mme. de Sévigné.    
  Experience is the name men give to their follies, or their sorrows.
A. de Musset.    
  Women are constantly the dupes, or the victims, of their extreme sensitiveness.
  Oblivion is the flower that grows best on graves.
George Sand.    
  In life, as in a promenade, woman must lean on a man above her.
A. Karr.    
  For one Orpheus who went to Hell to seek his wife, how many widowers who would not even go to Paradise to find theirs!
J. Petit-Senn.    
  When a lover gives, he demands—and much more than he has given.
  In most men there is a dead poet whom the man survives.
  Woman is a perfected devil.
Victor Hugo.    
  How many people would be mute if they were forbidden to speak well of themselves, and evil of others!
Mme. de Fontaines.    
  Coquettes are the quacks of love.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  To remain virtuous, a man has only to combat his own desires: a woman must resist her own inclinations, and the continual attack of man.
  We condemn vice and extol virtue only through interest.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The less one sees and knows men, the higher one esteems them; for experience teaches their real value.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Beauty without grace is a hook without a bait.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  The destiny of nations depends upon the manner in which they feed themselves.
  He who is never guilty of follies is not so wise as he imagines.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Contempt is like the hot iron that brands criminals: its imprint is almost always indelible.
  Antiquity is the aristocracy of History.
A. Dumas père.    
  A hydra advances which will soon devour all the men of sentiment: this hydra is the cipher.
O. Firmez.    
  Folly was condemned to serve as a guide to Love whom she had blinded.
La Fontaine.    
  The future of society is in the hands of the mothers. If the world was lost through woman, she alone can save it.
De Beaufort.    
  What we gain by experience is not worth what we lose in illusion.
  The breaking of a heart leaves no traces.
George Sand.    
  There are few husbands whom the wife can not win in the long run by patience and love, unless they are harder than the rocks which the soft water penetrates in time.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  From the moment it is touched, the heart can not dry up.
  Prejudice is the reason of fools.
  The best government is not that which renders men the happiest, but that which renders the greatest number happy.
Ch. P. Duclos.    
  Hypocrisy of manners, a vice peculiar to modern nations, has contributed more than one thinks to destroy that energy of character which distinguished the nations of antiquity.
  Celebrity sells dearly what we think she gives.
E. Souvestre.    
  The world either breaks or hardens the heart.
  Old age is the night of life, as night is the old age of the day. Still, night is full of magnificence; and, for many, it is more brilliant than the day.
Mme. Swetchine.    
  A mother’s tenderness and caresses are the milk of the heart.
Mlle. de Guérin.    
  Many have lived on a pedestal, who will never have a statue when dead.
  In eternal cares we spend our years, ever agitated by new desires: we look forward to living, and yet never live.
  Frequently the curses of men bring the blessings of Heaven.
  There are some moral conditions in which Death smiles upon us, as smiles a silent and peaceful night upon the exhausted laborer.
Alfred Mercier.    
  At the age when the faculties droop, when stern experience has destroyed all sweet illusions, man may seek solitude; but, at twenty, the affections which he is compelled to repress are a tomb in which he buries himself alive.
E. de Girardin.    
  Doubt follows white-winged Hope with a limping gait.
  Progress is lame.
  Great vices, and great virtues, are exceptions in mankind.
Napoleon I.    
  It is easier to take care of a peck of fleas than of one woman.
  Many men kill themselves for love, but many more women die of it.
  No one knows himself until he has suffered.
A. de Musset.    
  Who would venture upon the journey of life, if compelled to begin it at the end?
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  All those observers who have spent their lives in the study of the human heart, know less about the signs of love than the most brainless, yet sensitive woman.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  There are no oaths that make so many perjurers as the vows of love.
  One can impose silence on sentiment, but one can not give it limits.
Mme. Necker.    
  Women deceived by men want to marry them: it is a kind of revenge as good as any other.
  Recollection is the only paradise out of which we can not be driven.  97
  One must tell women only what one wants to be known.
  One blushes oftener from the wounds of self-love than from modesty.
Mme. Guibert.    
  Between the mouth and the kiss, there is always time for repentance.
A. Ricard.    
  Prosperity makes few friends.
  The thought of eternity consoles us for the shortness of life.
  He is the happiest who renders the greatest number happy.
  Flow, wine! smile, woman! and the universe is consoled!
  We should not pass from the earth without leaving traces to carry our memory to posterity.
Napoleon I.    
  The moral amelioration of man constitutes the chief mission of woman.
A. Comte.    
  Everywhere the strong have made the laws and oppressed the weak; and, if they have sometimes consulted the interests of society, they have always forgotten those of humanity.
  We rarely confess that we deserve what we suffer.
  Under the freest constitution ignorant people are still slaves.
  Love decreases when it ceases to increase.
  Imagination has more charm in writing than in speaking: great wings must fold before entering a salon.
Prince de Ligne.    
  In separations, the one who departs is the soonest consoled.
Mme. de Montolieu.    
  Partake of love as a temperate man partakes of wine: do not become intoxicated.
A. de Musset.    
  The last census of France embraced nearly twenty millions of women. Happy rascal!  114
  In love affairs, from innocence to the fault, there is but a kiss.
A. Second.    
  Fortune does not change men: it unmasks them.
Mme. Necker.    
  Virtue and Love are two ogres: one must eat the other.
  The table is the only place where we do not get weary during the first hour.
  Love never dies of starvation, but often of indigestion.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Man corrupts all that he touches.
  Shun idleness: it is the rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.
  He who is devoted to everybody is devoted to nobody.
C. Delavigne.    
  Of all serious things, marriage is the most ludicrous.
  The waves of life toss our destinies like sea-weeds detached from the rock. Houses are ships which receive but passengers.
  The man who enters his wife’s dressing-room is either a philosopher, or a fool.
  The sowing of wild oats is necessary in the life of a man. Libertinism is a leaven that ferments sooner or later.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  The Devil and Love are but one.
  Hope is a lure. There is no hand that can retain a wave or a shadow.
Victor Hugo.    
  Inopportune consolations increase a deep sorrow.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Let youth dance: tempests of the heart arise after the repose of the limbs.
  How many languish in obscurity, who would become great if emulation and encouragement incited them to exertion!
  Woman is an idol that man worships, until he throws it down.  132
  Many benefit by the caresses they have not inspired; many a vulgar reality serves as a pedestal to an ideal idol.
T. Gautier.    
  Necessity is a severe schoolmistress.
  If all hearts were frank, just, and honest, the major part of the virtues would be useless to us.
  O woman! it is thou that causest the tempests that agitate mankind.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  War is not as onerous as servitude.
  Glory, ambition, armies, fleets, thrones, crowns: playthings of grown children.
Victor Hugo.    
  Great men are like meteors: they glitter and are consumed to enlighten the world.
Napoleon I.    
  Oh, poor hearts of poets, eager for the infinite in love, will you never be understood?
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  WRITTEN ON A SKULL: Lamp, what hast thou done with the flame? Skeleton, what hast thou done with the soul? Deserted cage, what hast thou done with the bird? Volcano, what hast thou done with the lava? Slave, what hast thou done with thy master?
Mme. A. Ségalas.    
  We salute more willingly an acquaintance in a carriage than a friend on foot.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  The virtuous woman who falls in love is much to be pitied.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  To despise money is to dethrone a king.
  Instruction is to the proletary what liberty is to the slave: the latter emancipates the body, the former emancipates the intelligence.
E. de Girardin.    
  All thinkers have about the same principles, and form but one republic.
  A poet is a world inclosed in a man.
Victor Hugo.    
  The devil must be very powerful, since the sacrifice of a god for men has not rendered them any better.
  O world! how many hopes thou dost engulf!
A. de Musset.    
  Women swallow at one mouthful the lie that flatters, and drink drop by drop a truth that is bitter.
  It is not easy to be a widow: one must reassume all the modesty of girlhood, without being allowed to even feign its ignorance.
Mme. de Girardin.    
  A handsome face is a mute recommendation.  152
  Virginity is poetry: it does not exist for fools.
  What woman desires is written in heaven.
La Chaussée.    
  Life often seems but a long shipwreck, of which the débris are friendship, glory, and love: the shores of our existence are strewn with them.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Alas! how can we always resist? The devil tempts us, and the flesh is weak.
  Barbarism recommences by the excess of civilization.
  There are three things that I have always loved and have never understood: Painting, Music, and Woman.
  A philosopher is a fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead.
  How many women would laugh at the funerals of their husbands, if it were not the custom to weep!  160
  Beware of him who meets you with a friendly mien, and, in the midst of a cordial salutation, seeks to avoid your glance.
  There is no torture that a woman would not suffer to enhance her beauty.
  Alas! what does man here below? A little noise in much shadow.
Victor Hugo.    
  Modesty in woman is a virtue most deserving, since we do all we can to cure her of it.
  The more hidden the venom, the more dangerous it is.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  It was Love who invented music.
  Happiness is a bird that we pursue our life long, without catching it.  167
  An idle man is like stagnant water: he corrupts himself.
  Love makes mutes of those who habitually speak most fluently.
Mlle. de Scudéri.    
  He who tries to prove too much, proves nothing.
  A woman with whom one discusses love is always in expectation of something.
  O God! thy pity must have been profound when this miserable world emerged from chaos!
A. de Musset.    
  I have seen more than one woman drown her honor in the clear water of diamonds.
  Love is the sin of all men.
Du Bosc.    
  One knows the value of pleasure only after he has suffered pain.
  Attention, is a tacit and continual compliment.
Mme. Swetchine.    
  The power of words is immense. A well-chosen word has often sufficed to stop a flying army, to change defeat into victory, and to save an empire.
E. de Girardin.    
  One of the sweetest pleasures of a woman is to cause regret.
  Solitude causes us to write because it causes us to think
Mlle. de Guérin.    
  Love is a bird that sings in the heart of woman.
A. Karr.    
  Death is the only trustworthy friend of the miserable.  181
  To hate is a torment.
  The desire to please is born in woman before the desire to love.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Constancy is the chimera of love.
  Polygamy ought to be obligatory on physicians. It would be only just to compel those who depopulate the world to repopulate it a little.  185
  The pretension of youth always gives to a woman a few more years than she really has.
  Hope says to us at every moment: Go on! go on! and leads us thus to the grave.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  Cleanliness is the toilet of old age.
Mme. Necker.    
  The prejudices of men emanate from the mind, and may be overcome; the prejudices of women emanate from the heart, and are impregnable.
  A prude ought to be condemned to meet only indiscreet lovers.
  Friendship is a shield that blunts the darts of adversity.
Mme. de Saint-Surin.    
  Whoever has loved knows all that life contains of sorrow and of joy.
George Sand.    
  Modesty secretly awakes desire: it is the most chaste, the most delicate, and the most attractive of all provocations.
  The only true and firm friendship is that between man and woman, because it is the only affection exempt from actual or possible rivalry.
A. Comte.    
  The yoke of love is sometimes heavier than that of all the virtues.
  Paradise, as described by the theologians, seems to me too musical: I confess that I should be incapable of listening to a cantata that would last ten thousand years.
T. Gautier.    
  We are always more disposed to laugh at nonsense than at genuine wit; because the nonsense is more agreeable to us, being more conformable to our own natures: fools love folly, and wise men wisdom.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Use, do not abuse: neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.
  Those who seek happiness in ostentation and dissipation, are like those who prefer the light of a candle to the splendor of the sun.
Napoleon I.    
  The virtue of women is often the love of reputation and quiet.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The prayers of a lover are more imperious than the menaces of the whole world.
George Sand.    
  The moment past is no longer: the future may never be: the present is all of which man is the master.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  God speaks to our hearts through the voice of remorse.
De Bernis.    
  A revolution is the lava of a civilization.
Victor Hugo.    
  To love is to admire with the heart; to admire is to love with the mind.
T. Gautier.    
  Practice is to theory what the feet are to the head.
E. de Girardin.    
  We like to give in the sunlight, and to receive in the dark.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  Glances are the first billets-doux of love.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Fools never understand people of wit.
  The world is a masked ball.
  We attract hearts by the qualities we display; we retain them by the qualities we possess.
  Gratitude is a cross-road that leads quickly to love.
T. Gautier.    
  Beauty and ugliness disappear equally under the wrinkles of age: one is lost in them, the other hidden.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  There are some who are born with a sorrow in the heart.
  The ruses of women multiply with their years.
  The world boasts that it can render men happy!
  The reading of romances will always be the favorite amusement of women: old, they peruse them to recall what they have experienced; young, to anticipate what they wish to experience.
A. Ricard.    
  When we combat that which we love, sooner or later we succumb.
  Science seldom renders men amiable; women, never.
  Let us make no vows, but let us act as if we had.
  Whoever is suspicious incites treason.
  Presumption is the daughter of ignorance.
  That a country may be truly free, the people should be all philosophers, and the rulers all gods.
Napoleon I.    
  Chance is a nickname for Providence.
  It is not the weathercock that changes: it is the wind.
C. Desmoulins.    
  Women are in the moral world what flowers are in the physical.
S. Maréchal.    
  Fanaticism is to religion what hypocrisy is to virtue.
  Our happiness is but an unhappiness more or less consoled.
  Women should be careful of their conduct, for appearances sometimes injure them as much as faults.
Abbé Girard.    
  The fool maintains an error with the assurance of a man who can never be mistaken: the sensible man defends a truth with the circumspection of a man who may be mistaken.
De Bruix.    
  Tears are the strength of women.
  Where pride begins, love ends.
  Greece, so much praised for her wisdom, never produced but seven wise men: judge of the number of fools!
  A man must be a fool, who does not succeed in making a woman believe that which flatters her.
  Vanity is the quicksand of reason.
George Sand.    
  Philosophy triumphs easily over evils past and evils to come; but, present evils triumph over philosophy.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  To be happy is not to enjoy: it is not to suffer.
  Better to have never loved, than to have loved unhappily, or to have half loved.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  Love makes time pass, and time makes love pass.
  What a chimera is man! What a confused chaos! What a subject of contradictions! A professed judge of all things, and yet a feeble worm of the earth! the great depositary and guardian of truth, and yet a mere bundle of uncertainties! the glory and the shame of the universe!
  Vanity, shame, and, above all, temperament, often make the valor of men, and the virtue of women.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  One always wishes to be happy before becoming wise.
Mme. Necker.    
  Tenderness is increased by pity.
Mme. Dufresnoy.    
  Love is the passion of great souls: it makes them merit glory, when it does not turn their heads.
Mme. de Pompadour.    
  There is no bitterer grief than a happy remembrance in a day of sorrow.
A. de Musset.    
  Nothing is so embarrassing as the first tête-ô-tête, when there is everything to say, unless it be the last, when everything has been said.
N. Roqueplan.    
  The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise!
  A lover is never wrong.
  Many smile who bite.
  The greatest of all pleasures is to give pleasure to one we love.
  Of all things that man possesses, women alone take pleasure in being possessed.
  The gods have attached almost as many misfortunes to liberty as to servitude.
  God created woman only to tame man.
  Man laughs and weeps at the same things.
  There is no greater fool than he who thinks himself wise; no one wiser than he who suspects he is a fool.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Anything serves as a pretext for the wicked.
  All skulls seem to laugh. Perhaps it is at the epitaph engraved on their tomb.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  Woman is the symbol of moral and physical beauty.
T. Gautier.    
  Audacity of thought is seldom forgiven.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  Crime, as well as virtue, has its degrees.
  The stomach is a slave that must accept everything that is given to it, but which avenges wrongs as slyly as the slave does.
E. Souvestre.    
  We promise much, that we may give little.
  History is the conscience of humanity.
E. de Girardin.    
  A child becomes for his parents, according to the education he receives, a blessing or a chastisement.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  For one virtue that makes us walk, how many vices make us run!
  There are some faults which, when well managed, make a greater figure than virtue itself.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  A widow is like a frigate of which the first captain has been shipwrecked.
A. Karr.    
  He who receives his friends, and takes no personal care in preparing the meal that is designed for them, is not deserving of friends.
  All joys do not cause laughter; great pleasures are serious: pleasures of love do not make us laugh.
  Every man carries in his soul a sepulchre—that of his youth.
O. Firmez.    
  Woman is a flower that exhales her perfume only in the shade.
  There are in the human heart two cups, one for joy and one for sorrow, which empty themselves alternately.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  Intelligent people make many blunders, because they never believe the world as stupid as it is.
  One is always a woman’s first lover.
  All our tastes are but reminiscences.
  Everything falls and is effaced. A few feet under the ground reigns so profound a silence, and yet, so much tumult on the surface!
Victor Hugo.    
  The source of all passions is sensitiveness: it is the errors of imagination that transform them into vices.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  O unfortunates who sin without pleasure! in your errors be more reasonable; be, at least, fortunate sinners. Since you must be damned, be damned for amiable faults.
  There are hours in life when the most trifling annoyances assume the proportions of a catastrophe.
E. Souvestre.    
  Death is the origin of another life.
  What a fool is he who says to a woman, Will you? Dost not know, simpleton, that they always pretend not to be willing?
Alfred Bougeart.    
  There is in us more of the appearance of sense and of virtue than of the reality.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  The world does not understand that we can prefer anything else to it.
George Sand.    
  All our wisdom consists of but servile prejudices.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Repentance is an avowed remorse.
Mme. Swetchine.    
  Laws should be clear, uniform, precise: to interpret them is nearly always to corrupt them.
  He who flatters you is your enemy.
  Whenever the good done to us does not touch and penetrate the heart, it wounds and irritates our vanity.
E. de Girardin.    
  In delicate souls, love never presents itself but under the veil of esteem.
Mme. Roland.    
  A corrupted and weakened community breaks down in immense catastrophes; the iron harrow of revolutions crushes men like the clods of the field; but, in the blood-stained furrows germinates a new generation, and the soul aggrieved, believes again.
  A skeptic is not one who doubts, but one who examines.
  As a man’s yes and no, so his character. A prompt yes or no marks the firm, the quick, the decided character; and a slow, the cautious or timid.
  Everything is two-faced—even virtue.
  The envious will die, but envy—never.
  In all companies there are more fools than wise men; and the greater number always get the better of the wiser.
  Woman is the Sunday of man.
  A great career is a dream of youth realized in mature age.
De Vigny.    
  Sorrow makes us very good or very bad.
George Sand.    
  Childhood is the sleep of reason.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Love is the offspring of chance: its nurse is habit.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The highest mark of esteem a woman can give a man is to ask his friendship; and the most signal proof of her indifference is to offer him hers.  301
  At the banquet of life, an unfortunate guest, I one day appeared; now, I am dying. Dying! and none there are to shed a tear over the tomb that awaits me!
  Love! Love! Eternal enigma! Will not the Sphinx that guards thee find an Œdipus to explain thee?
F. Pyat.    
  One may be better than his reputation or his conduct, but never better than his principles.
  At twenty, man is less a lover of woman than of women: he is more in love with the sex than with the individual, however charming she may be.
Rétif de la Bretonne.    
  The change of fashions is the tax that the industry of the poor levies on the vanity of the rich.
  There is no more agreeable companion than the woman who loves us.
Bernardin de St. Pierre.    
  The knowledge of the charms one possesses prompts one to utilize them.
  So long as people are subject to disease and death, they will run after physicians, however much they may deride them.
La Bruyère.    
  Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Creator; everything deteriorates in the hands of man.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Diversity of opinion proves that things are only what we think them.
  Men commonly injure one another without cause, and simply to do something: as an idle promenader in a garden, breaks the young branches, and strips off the leaves of the most beautiful flowers.
E. Souvestre.    
  A fool always finds some one more foolish than he to admire him.
  I can not see why women are so desirous of imitating men. I could understand the wish to be a boa constrictor, a lion, or an elephant; but a man! that surpasses my comprehension.
T. Gautier.    
  Pleasure has its time; so, too, has wisdom. Make love in thy youth, and in old age, attend to thy salvation.
  If much reason is necessary to remain in celibacy, still more is required to marry. One must then have reason for two; and often all the reason of the two does not make one reasonable being.
  Love has compensations that friendship has not.
  What would we not give to still have in store the first blissful moment we ever enjoyed!
  Whatever good is said of us, we learn nothing new.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Men declare their love before they feel it; women confess theirs only after they have proved it.
  The human heart will always be the abyss of reason.  321
  There are profound sorrows which remain stored in our souls, and which we always find there when we are melancholy.
Mme. de Salm.    
  Two powerful destroyers: Time and Adversity.
A. de Musset.    
  Men always say more evil of women than there really is; and there is always more than is known.
  The best shelter for a girl is her mother’s wing.  325
  Every age has its different inclinations, but man is always the same. At ten, he is led by sweetmeats, at twenty by a mistress, at thirty by pleasure, at forty by ambition, at fifty by avarice.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  From Paris to Peru, from Japan to Rome, the most foolish animal, in my estimation, is man.
  Death is a panacea for all evils.
  I do not know in the whole history of the world a hero, a worthy man, a prophet, a true Christian, who has not been the victim of the jealous, of a scamp, or of a sinister spirit.
  The thought of death is more cruel than death itself.
De la Boëtie.    
  Everybody exclaims against ingratitude. Are there so many benefactors?
Alfred Bougeart.    
  The virtuous action, done for virtue’s sake alone, is truly laudable.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Jealousy is the sister of Love—as the devil is the brother of the angels.
  Woman among savages is a beast of burden; in Asia, she is a piece of furniture; in Europe, she is a spoiled child.
Sénac de Meilhan.    
  Love makes us thin. If a codfish were a widow, she would become fat.
Provençal Proverb.    
  Men are women’s playthings; women are the devil’s.
Victor Hugo.    
  The heart is like the tree that gives balm for the wounds of man, only when the iron has wounded it.
  Always driven toward new shores, or carried hence without hope of return, shall we never, on the ocean of age, cast anchor for even a day!
  Two smiles that approach each other end in a kiss.
Victor Hugo.    
  Even if women were immortal, they could never foresee their last lover.
  How many people assume boldly the mask of virtue!
Mlle. de Scudéri.    
  If you believe in evil, you have done evil.
A. de Musset.    
  The more one judges, the less one loves.
  The heart of a statesman should be in his head.
Napoleon I.    
  The passions are the orators of great assemblies.
  To forgive a fault in another is more sublime than to be faultless one’s self.
George Sand.    
  The surest way to please is to forget one’s self, and to think only of others.
  The dream of happiness is real happiness.
  The beautiful is always severe.
  An indiscreet man is an unsealed letter: every one can read it.
  Youth is presumptuous, old age is timid: the former aspires to live, the latter has lived.
Mme. Roland.    
  We never live: we are always in expectation of living.
  Great thoughts spring from the heart.
  Prosperity unmasks the vices; adversity reveals the virtues.
  A man should never blush in confessing his errors, for he proves by his avowal that he is wiser to-day than yesterday.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Patience is the courage of virtue.
Bernardin de St. Pierre.    
  A woman without beauty knows but half of life.
Mme. de Montaran.    
  No man has yet discovered the means of giving successfully friendly advice to women—not even to his own.
  If Cleopatra’s nose had been shorter, the face of the whole world would have been changed.
  Men would be saints if they loved God as they love women.
Saint Thomas.    
  We like to know the weaknesses of eminent persons: it consoles us for our inferiority.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  In love, the importance lies in the beginning. The world knows well that whoever takes one step will take more: it is important, then, to take the first step well.
  Women live only in the emotion that love gives. An old lady confessed that she had loved much, when young: “Ah!” she exclaimed, “the exquisite pain of those days!”
A. Houssaye.    
  He who has neither friend, nor enemy, is without talents, powers, or energy.
  Casuists who made absolute chastity a virtue, have produced but false appearances in a hypocritical society.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  Superstition: a foolish fear of the Deity.
La Bruyère.    
  A republic is not founded on virtue, but on the ambition of its citizens.
  Inconstancy is sometimes due to levity of mind, but oftener to satiety.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  There are very few things in the world upon which an honest man can repose his soul, or his thoughts.
  O sweet past! sometimes remembrance raises thy long veil, then we weep in recognizing thee!
Mme. Louise Labé.    
  To discuss an opinion with a fool is like carrying a lantern before a blind man.
De Gaston.    
  No faith has triumphed without its martyrs.
E. de Girardin.    
  Promises retain men better than services. For them, hope is a chain, and gratitude a thread.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  There are few things that we know well.
  Men bestow compliments only on women who deserve none.
Mme. Bachi.    
  Marble, pearl, rose, dove, all may disappear: the pearl melts, the marble breaks, the rose fades, the bird escapes.
T. Gautier.    
  When the intoxication of love has passed, we laugh at the perfections it had discovered.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  To live is not merely to breathe; it is to act; it is to make use of all our organs, functions, and faculties. This alone gives us the consciousness of existence.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  The only confidence that one can repose in the most discreet woman is the confidence of her beauty.
  Nature, when she amused herself by giving stiff manners to old maids, put virtue in a very bad light. A woman must have been a mother to preserve under the chilling influences of time that grace of manner and sweetness of temper, which prompt us to say, “One sees that love has dwelt there.”
  Woman is the sweetest present that God has given to man.
  God created the coquette as soon as he had made the fool.
Victor Hugo.    
  Scripture says, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” I say, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of man.”
  It is easy to find a lover and to retain a friend: what is difficult is to find the friend and to retain the lover.
  Women like brave men exceedingly, but audacious men still more.
  Marriage should combat without respite or mercy that monster which devours everything—habit.
  Poets are like birds: the least thing makes them sing.
  We censure the inconstancy of women when we are the victims: we find it charming when we are the objects.
L. Desnoyers.    
  There are moments of intense joy and grief, which every one has, at least, once in his life, that illuminate his character at once.
  At the age of sixty, to marry a beautiful girl of sixteen, is to imitate those ignorant people who buy books to be read by their friends.
A. Ricard.    
  The world is a picnic to which every one takes his basket, to carry back whatever he can grasp.  391
  Life resembles a cup of clear water which becomes muddy as we drink it.
Mme. Dufresnoy.    
  Heaven made virtue; man, the appearance.
  Rascal! That word on the lips of a woman, addressed to a too daring man, often means—angel!  394
  Two thirds of life are spent in hesitating, and the other third in repenting.
E. Souvestre.    
  Every one speaks well of his heart, but no one dares to speak well of his mind.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  When one has a good day in the year, one is not wholly unfortunate.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  A litigant at law should have three bags: one of papers, one of money, and one of patience.
  Most pleasures embrace but to strangle.

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